Interview: Damac MD Ziad El Chaar

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Versace. Fendi. Trump International. Paramount Hotels & Resorts. Dubai developer Damac Properties is collecting a portfolio of high-end brands as its works its way towards its goal to become the largest luxury property firm in the world.

Since being founded in 2002 by Hussain Sajwani, the firm has refused to scrimp on any of its roughly 40 projects, insisting it is only interested in the wealthiest of customers.

“This is our aspiration. We are 11 years old, so it’s like if somebody asks you what you want to be when you grow up to 11 years old, and we aspire to be the largest global real estate developer who is just focused on luxury,” Damac managing director Ziad El Chaar tells Arabian Business.

“From day one when we started the company this is something we saw we could specialise in and we’ve put expertise in this segment and at the same time we are able to deliver a product at that level and find the customer at that level. Also we’re lucky to be in some of the cities where you have an affluent portion of the society who would look at luxury real estate developments, who would look at co-branded real estate developments. They demand luxury.”

Damac has a presence in each of the Gulf’s richest cities — Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, with a total of 9,000 residences completed and another 23,000 either launched or under construction.

Most of these carry only the Damac name, but a significant and growing proportion are being developed in conjunction with already well-established international brands known for their exclusivity.

Italian fashion house Versace was the first to be signed up, with the launch of a 28-storey residential tower in Beirut in June 2010, in which all of the interiors are designed by Versace Home.

A year later, Damac Residences with Interiors by Versace Home was launched in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Keeping to the Italian theme, Damac also is collaborating with luxury goods designer Fendi Casa to develop opulent serviced hotel apartments in its Damac Esclusiva residential tower in Riyadh and private apartments in Damac Residenze in Dubai Marina.

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Posted by: Jas Sabharwal

How do Damac propose to be become the biggest with their unethical practices with investors?

Posted by: Daniella

As far as I can tell, Damac is leading the market at the moment. They are the ones who have been bullish about the Dubai market and have remained committed to it, even during the tough times. They have finished and handed over more projects in the past few months than any other developer, and their Akoya project is already well under construction. I saw how popular their stand was at Cityscape, and being very cynical, took a drive up to the site next to the Polo Club. Parts of the golf course is already grassed, there is a huge building onsite and there are loads of large diggers and construction vehicles at work. It is good to see their MD talking so strongly about the market and it may now be Damac's time to shine.

Posted by: Shergar

It's not 40 projects it was 77+ and according to their own figures at least 1/3 of the 16,000+ unit holders are still awaiting delivery form this very secretive and non transparent company. Some day a bestseller will be written telling all about Damac and all the suffering they have inflicted.

Posted by: Riyaz Sultan Sajan

Indeed Damac is a Designer Brand and a superb Developer

Posted by: g-real estate

please spend the same amount of time on finishing your projects

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